Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Myths and Misconceptions

Dracoonfly Ginger Cattis, a red classic tabby & white with her 3 red boys

A young lady called the house last night, inquiring if this was the Dracoonfly Maine Coon place. I replied it was. She then asked where I was located so I told her the name of the town, spelling it out slowly at least 3 times. Her next question: What hours are you open? This was by no means the least clued-in person who has called about kittens, but it was the first where someone assumed I had store hours and could drop in and window shop for a kitten. I tried to be patient; this is my home, not a store. My kittens are almost always reserved in advance. They are born in my bedroom. Potential buyers must complete an application and be approved before I'll even put them on the waiting list. I tried, but I knew my explanations were useless. We ended the conversation 3 minutes later than I would've liked. Sometimes it just isn't worth the effort to explain.

Another misconception is that because the Maine Coon is a large, imposing-looking cat (or just because it's a cat), it is supposed to go outside. I actually had a man tell me years ago that he thought a Maine Coon would be the right breed for him because it was "big enough to handle the coyotes". To put it in monetary terms, why would a "cat lover" spend $800 plus on a kitten and then risk its life by allowing it to roam outside? Hey, I grew up in the time when cats lived outside and nobody got their cat "fixed". Unfortunately, most of our cats didn't make it past the age of four and many didn't even reach adulthood. Cats were disposable pets back then. I hope the time will come when all cat owners value their kitties enough to keep them safely indoors.

Other cat misconceptions:
  • Male cats are more affectionate than females
  • All torbie or tortie females have "torbietude" (this is like saying all red-heads have quick tempers or all blonds are dumb)
  • Red tabby males are sweet and stupid (another colorist statement)
  • All red tabbies are male (FACT: approximately 1/3 of the reds are female so males are the majority in this color)
  • Only male cats spray
  • Female cats don't like to play or are aloof
  • All long-haired tabbies must be at least part Maine Coon
  • All cats over 20 pounds must be part Maine Coon
  • Hens need a rooster in order to lay eggs (just seeing if you're paying attention)
  • True Maine Coons have an "M" on their foreheads (Animal Planet gets partial credit for starting this one)
  • Cats, like dogs, can be labeled as a breed (FACT: only 4% of all cats are pedigreed, the rest are just cats)
  • Maine Coons should weigh over 30 pounds (FACT: if it does, it is overweight)
  • The Maine Coon developed from a raccoon breeding a domestic cat
  • Dry cat food is better for their teeth
  • Only Maine Coon cats get hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • The fur of a Maine Coon is hypo-allergenic
  • Pregnant women need to get rid of their cats in case they get toxoplasmosis
  • You can make a lot of money breeding cats
Those are some of the myths and misconceptions I've encountered over the years. If anyone has any others (or "facts" they've always wondered about), feel free to comment or send them to me and I'll post it.

Dracoonfly Salmon Candy, another red classic tabby female


  1. Unfortunately, most of our cats didn't make it past the age of four and many didn't even reach adulthood.

    What I remember is that until Hal (the first family cat who got fixed), no family cat lived with us for more than 3 years. However, animal attacks were not the usual source of death. The curvy mountain road on which we lived, straightened out in front of our childhood home, causing motorists to accelerate well in excess of the 35-mph speed limit. Our poor kitties and doggies were usually the victim of a hit-and-run.

  2. Another misconception:

    Long-haired or medium-haired cats shed more than short-haired cats.

    The length of a cat's fur has nothing to do with shedding, yet most people feel if they get a short haired cat, they have less fur to clean up.

  3. Is there any truth to the myth that Maine Coons like to have their bellies blown?

    How about the rumor that they used to be called Cane Moons, because of their affinity for eating sugar cane during the full moon?

    I have heard that if you apply a vacuum cleaner hose to a Maine Coon to absorb shedding fur, you can completely fill the vacuum cleaner bag with no apparent loss of hair on the Maine Coon. Is that true?

  4. Howard,

    Regarding your first and serious comment, yes, many of our pets were hit by cars. However, there were the countless others who just disappeared. More than likely they became the victims of predators. We just never saw the evidence.

    Regarding your vacuum are so weird. It's a wonder I grew up normal living with you.

  5. A couple of comments I got back from another breeder:

    One of my pet peeves is when kitten people come over and expect the kittens to go flying over to them and purr, kiss them and act like they are their long lost friend... or if a kitten isn't 'gooing' over them it doesn't like them. They need to realize they are strangers... do you go hug, kiss and crawl all over strangers? Nope, lol! Since we give our kittens lots of attention (they are not attention starved!) they are most interested in sleeping or playing with a teaser toy when people visit ;)

    One lady came over and was holding all the kittens up to their face (which they hated) and then said they don't like me, and left. Geesh!

    In addition to that we are not a zoo... if we have 10 kittens for sale, not everyone can come over 2-3 times to play with the kittens. If they did we would have 20 to 30 visits! Shoot me now, LOL!

    Just stuff people don't realize :)


  6. Howard said, "How about the rumor that they used to be called Cane Moons, because of their affinity for eating sugar cane during the full moon?"

    Your Brother, Sharon? If so, it IS amazing you are so balanced. This is lame-o humor of the first water! Still made me chuckle.

    Loved the part about hens ... just to see if your Gentle Readers were paying attention!